New Delhi/Aizawl, Dec 14 (GCCurrentAffairs) The Mizo National Front (MNF), which recorded a landslide victory staging a significant comeback into the northeastern state decimating Congress, seems to be much conscious about its ‘understanding’ with the BJP leadership in the Centre.
According to sources in the MNF, the conventional and mandatory National Anthem during the swearing-in ceremony on Saturday of Zoramthanga-led ministry would be followed by “Bible reading and prayer”.
“This Bible reading ceremony during administering of oath of Chief Minister and his council of ministers in Mizoram is a first-time affair in the state,” a MNF source told.
There will be a special “Hallelujah Chorus” by a local Leprosy group during the swearing in ceremony and Rev Lalhmingthanga, a senior Christian leader and chairman of the Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), conglomerate of leaders of 16 major churches, would lead the Bible reading.
The supposed influence of churches, BJP’s perceived ‘pro-Hindutva’ slant and the latent discomfort of the local voters vis-a-vis row over cattle slaughtering and related controversies figured prominently during electioneering in the state.
Hopeful of doing well in the polls, the BJP had fielded 39 candidates for the 40-member Assembly, but it could win only one seat. The saffron party sources, however, regard this as a ‘beginning’ of a long journey as this is first time, the BJP is making entry into the state legislature in this predominantly Christian stronghold state.
For long, politically and otherwise, it was said that Mizoram rocks were ‘hard’ enough where Lotus (BJP’s electoral symbol) cannot bloom.
Mizo National Front (MNF) chief and former Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Thursday submitted the lists of members of council of ministers to be sworn-in at Raj Bhavan circular lawn in Aizawl on Saturday.
State Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan would administer the oaths to the new Chief Minister and the ministers. Zoramthanga, a lieutenant of legendary former Mizo rebel leader Laldenga, had earlier been in power between 1998 and 2008.
Mizoram BJP chief Prof John V Hluna expressed ‘surprise’ at party’s poor show and indicated that a section of BJP central leadership might have ‘helped’ MNF, also a constituent of BJP-led NEDA in the north east.
“We had high hopes,” said Mr Hluna, who is camping in Delhi to meet senior BJP leaders including party’s national president Amit Shah.
The saffron party’s poll managers in Mizoram were hopeful of picking up three to five seats at least.
The defeat of former Speaker Hiphei, who quit Congress despite offers of ticket from home turf Palak, has left many analysts surprised. BJP also had hoped of winning three seats in Mizoram-Bangladesh-Tripura border Mamit district — Mamit, Hachhek and Dampa seats in remote Mamit district has sizable number of voters belonging to smaller sub-tribes.
The poor turnout of voters at the 15 temporary polling stations at Kanhmun too might have contributed to BJP’s loses, sources said. As against the state level turnout of 81 per cent, only was 56.4 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in six Bru relief camps.
Former Congress leader and ex-Mizoram minister Buddha Dhan Chakma, who joined BJP in October in the presence of saffron party president Amit Shah, is the only BJP legislator to make it to the Assembly in this year’s polls.
Ironically, for Congress in Mizoram, the setback came on a day when the grand old party, which has been experiencing a series of electoral defeats since 2014, made a strong come back in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
The Congress veteran and its longest surviving politician Lal Thanhawla, the outgoing Chief Minister, lost in Serchip to ZPM’s Chief Ministerial candidate and former MP Lalduhoma while in Champhai South, he lost to MNF nominee TJ Lalnuntluanga.